New Mini Hatch and Convertible models are on the way, and while change is good, not everyone will like what they see.
We’ve had the current Mini design with us for nearly eight years now, so a redesign is long overdue. Still, we’ll only get a mid-cycle refresh for the 2022 model year, with a thorough ground-up redesign expected at some point in the next few years. Then again, Mini might have you questioning your beliefs if you’re currently thinking major updates only happen when a car gets completely revamped.
Like so many other model updates in recent years, the new 2022 Mini Hatch and Convertible have grown their grille size, the result easier to see on more basic Cooper and Cooper S trims than with the brand’s much sportier John Cooper Works (JCW) iteration, because the more affordable models feature a big body-colour bumper section within their grilles, and the top-tier version gets a completely blacked-out mesh grille insert, plus a much more intimidating lower front fascia, which is also finished in matte black.
Another visual departure replaces the cars’ classic round fog lights with narrow vertical creases, modernizing the Mini look yet not paying homage to its storied past, an unusual move for a retrospective brand. These appear like brake ducts instead of anything to house lighting elements, while the headlamp clusters now integrate the fog lights. The aforementioned JCW now grows out these corner vent/brake ducts, and could be said to look all the better for it.
It’s nevertheless unlikely Mini’s risky new forward-thinking design language will be all that acceptable to long-time fans of the brand, despite a press release attesting to the new design’s “purist look”. Those two words are referring to a grille surround that’s a bit closer to the original car’s shape than anything offered since the brand’s 2001 remake, but other than this loosely hexagonal borderline, the ovoid headlamp clusters to each side, and the car’s curvy shape overall, very little pulls from Mini’s storied past.
It’s difficult to say now, but it’s possible Mini’s new front fascia may become just as controversial as the tall, vertical “twin kidney” grille found on the front of BMW’s new 3 and 4 Series models. BMW, which owns and produces Mini, has created just a hubbub of discontent amongst its diehard ownership base, that aftermarket producers are already creating replacement front fascias with arguably better looking (smaller and more discreet) grille openings, which means the German automaker could inadvertently be creating a secondary market for its Mini line as well.
No doubt it has been difficult for Mini’s various design teams to update its lineup over the decades, being that it’s such an iconic brand. Volkswagen had similar challenges with its Beetle, no doubt, but they chose subtle changes that worked well, at least until they recently canceled the nameplate. Up until now, Mini has risen to the challenge admirably, but it’s possible, in a quest to expand the brand to a larger group of potentially new buyers, they’ve gone too far with the latest update.
Where the new Mini’s frontal design shows most of the changes, the car’s side profile and rear styling look more akin to the outgoing model, with updates to the former including “side scuttle” fender garnishes now featuring thin LED light strips for turn signal repeaters, and the latter portion only getting a revised bumper cap that no longer includes rear fog lamps or reflectors. Mini is also offering an optional Multitone Roof, which features a stylish gradient effect mixing Soul Blue, Pearly Aqua and Jet Black.
A new standard digital instrument cluster is the only noticeable update inside. It was first seen on the Mini Cooper SE plug-in hybrid and sportiest John Cooper Works GP model. The steering wheel is new as well, and warmer thanks to a heated rim. Additionally, the car’s centre air vents have now been better integrated within the dash panel.
An 8.8-inch infotainment touchscreen now comes standard in every new Mini Hatch and Convertible too. It provides modernized graphics and enhanced features, such as standard satellite radio and Apple CarPlay, although the more popular Google Android smartphone platform has yet to get full device integration through its Android Auto system. Fortunately, lane-departure warning will be standard for 2022, while the car’s adaptive cruise control system will include stop-and-go capability. Finally, Mini has reworked the interior’s ambient lighting system.
As for under-the-hood mechanicals, Mini Canada continues forward with a standard six-speed manual gearbox for 2022, while its fast-shifting 7-speed dual-clutch automated gearbox remains optional, with steering wheel paddles of course.
Likewise, engine output is once again rated at 134 horsepower and 164 lb-ft of torque for Mini Canada’s base Cooper model, this strong for an efficient 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder. The 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder in the Cooper S moves into 2022 unchanged too, continuing to make 189 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque, while the same engine in the JCW puts out 228 horsepower and 236 lb-ft. Lastly, the plug-in SE once again boasts 181 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque.
2022 model year pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but production started last month so we should receive details soon. If we were to venture a guess, all of the just-noted improvements to standard trims will likely increase base prices modestly.
Alternatively, those that take a look at the new 2022 Mini and instead want a 2021 version, or perhaps even a new 2020 model if you can still find the colour and features you want, should take note that the British carmaker is currently offering up to $1,500 in additional incentives for the former and $3,000 from the latter, as per our 2021 Mini 3 Door Canada Prices page and 2020 Mini 3 Door Canada Prices page, while average CarCostCanada member savings equals a sizeable $10,000. Similarly, Mini is offering up to $1,500 in additional incentives from 2021 and 2020 Convertibles, and up to $2,500 in incentives on 2021 and 2020 5-Door models.
CarCostCanada members can access key information about all the latest factory rebates, manufacturer financing and leasing rates, plus best of all, dealer invoice pricing that can save you thousands during negotiations. Be sure to learn how a CarCostCanada membership can save you money, and remember to download the free CarCostCanada app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Mini